Suppose that I donate $10 to the Red Cross. The money will be put into a bank account, along with millions of other donations, before being distributed to the various departments. It will then be split up, and sent around the world to dozens of different locations. Hopefully, somewhere along the line, it will be used to help somebody, somewhere, with something-or-other. The causal chain is there, between the donation and the benefit, but it’s so intertwined and mixed up that our brains can’t keep track of it. That is, if we even know what the chain is; the Red Cross lists donations under broad headings, such as “measles initiative” and “international response fund”, that don’t tell us what the money is buying. Most charities don’t even do that much- the money just goes into a general slush fund.
With transhumanist organizations, the problem is even worse, as transhumanist technologies are so complicated that deriving a benefit may require hundreds of different links between the donation and the result. Rationally, contributing to just about any transhumanist organization has a higher expected utility than contributing to the Red Cross. However, our brains do not follow the laws of rationality; when we make an effort, and see no benefit, and make another effort, and see no benefit, the short-term feedback system tries to shut down whichever part of the brain is making the effort. Therefore, I propose that every transhumanist organization which relies upon donations should put some percentage of the money, say 10%, towards something which is near-term, simple, and obviously beneficial. Some sort of easily understood benefit is necessary to get non-transhumanists to donate, and even experienced transhumanists would probably donate more if the money went to something concrete. After all, even if *transhumanism* is the best thing since sliced bread, there’s no guarantee any particular organization is actually helping the Cause ™.